Here are some of the benefits of exercise in pregnancy.
Regular exercise during pregnancy is purported to give Mom more energy. This can be a real boon when you feel worn out and dragged down by your pregnancy.
A recent study in New Zealand found that women who exercised regularly during pregnancy (they used a stationary bicycle) had healthy-weight babies but the babies were at the low end of healthy weights. In other words, the babies could be thought of as “fitter” or more “in shape.” Researchers are hoping that this finding will help break the cycle of obesity and ever-larger babies that seems to be occurring today.
There’s no doubt about it – giving birth is a workout! Exercise helps get you in shape for the final marathon. It also helps strengthen bones, joints, and muscles. Depending on the kind of exercise you engage in, increased flexibility is another helpful benefit of exercise during pregnancy. The more limber and strong your muscles and tendons, the more likely it is that you will have a successful birth experience, sources say.
Recovering from pregnancy can be a long process for some. It’s said that exercise helps facilitate that recovery, possibly helping you regain your pre-pregnancy weight and shape more quickly. It’s important not to underestimate the importance of rest during recovery, too – your body will “tell” you this in many ways, like prolonged bleeding, so exercising during pregnancy helps you take that well-deserved rest after birth without getting “too soft”!
Pregnancy can really make sleep difficult. Exercise may help; pregnant women report that regular exercise early in the day (right before bed made pep you up too much) improves their sleep.
Back Pain Help
The lower back can really hurt during pregnancy. Interestingly, strengthening the abdominals helps take some of the pressure off your back. Ask your doctor or midwife about stomach exercises that are safe during pregnancy to help strengthen your abdominals. (This may also help them go back after birth, too.) Exercises that include stretching the lower back can also help relieve pain.
For some moms, watching the numbers on the scale go up and only up can be very discouraging. It’s hard to remember that you’re growing a baby, and of course that adds weight! A woman’s blood volume increases, too, and the placenta, cord, and expanded uterus weigh more. It’s not just the baby adding weight.
Still, it can feel discouraging. Exercise can help you feel like you’re doing something proactive, that you’re taking care of yourself, and you can feel assured that the weight you’re gaining is healthy.